As the summer transfer window passed we consoled ourselves that we were signing good players who would make a difference whenever the transfer of Bale to Real Madrid was completed. In reality through the past months it has not been quite as we’d hoped for. We knew it would take time for players new to the Premier League to adapt to English football but after six months we appear to be no closer to seeing the best from our summer signings. Most of them have had moments to raise the spirits but there has been no consistency in their performances and injuries have hampered them in their period of acclimatisation.
As the results suffered under Andre Villas-Boas with poor performances and little style, so the players became more bewildered in a foreign land. How will the react to the managerial style of Tim Sherwood?
All of the players have shown glimpses of their true ability but have been unable to reproduce it on a regular basis.
The Not So ‘Magnificent 7′
Paulinho: he made possibly the best start with some early goals as he got into the area to support the striker and looked as if he would be an important player for Spurs this season. As time passed he became less influential and almost unsure of his role in the team. Suspension and now injury are keeping him out of the team, having looked impressive against Stoke prior to going off with the ankle injury.
Roberto Soldado: his record of goalscoring in Spain, 114 goals in the past five seasons, suggested he could be the answer to our lack of goals from our strikers. In the pre-season friendly he was lively, getting to the ball in the area ahead of defenders and it looked promising. In the real world of the Premier League, however, he quickly became a very isolated figure as Spurs struggled to create any chances for him. His penalty taking apart, and goals in the Europa League, it has been a very frustrating time for a player whose game is all about goals. He has turned provider on occasions and his displays have improved since the re-introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor into the team but still he can’t find his goal scoring touch.
Nacer Chadli: he started on the left of midfield at the beginning of the season and linked well with Danny Rose in the first two games and early in the north London derby. It all looked so promising but then he was out with injury, Rose was out as well and he never had a settled run in the team. He came on at Southampton on the right side of midfield and played a number of dangerous crosses into the area in a nice cameo performance for the last minutes of the game. Selected for the next game in that position, he failed to repeat the display.
Etienne Capoue: he impressed as a substitute against Crystal Palace in the opening match in August. Injury at the Emirates kept him out for a lengthy period and when he returned towards the end of AVB’s time at the Lane, he had to fill in as a central defender. He looked comfortable at Sunderland and in the Europa League but was found wanting against Liverpool. Now the coach has started an unproven youngster ahead of him for the FA Cup game against Arsenal. What does that say about Sherwood’s view of Capoue’s value to the team?
The Later Signings
Three players were signed at the end of the transfer window and they have also found it difficult to impress and find a regular starting place in the team.
Christian Eriksen: he impressed in his debut against Norwich in early September and scored his first goal in the Europa League later in the month. After that he struggled to have an impact on games and an injury playing for Denmark kept him out for a period. In recent weeks he has had more opportunity and scored the decisive goal at Old Trafford.
Erik Lamela: Tottenham’s record signing has played little football in the opening months of the season. He impressed in the Europa League win over Sheriff when he scored his first goal but that apart there has been little indication of what role would be best for him at Spurs.
Vlad Chiriches: he had to wait for his work permit before he could play and in his early games, in his over-enthusiasm to impress, he made elementary errors but having got over that he has impressed in central defence. With Spurs current injury problems, he’s getting regular football and experience in the Premier League. Of the seven summer signing he has probably been the most effective and had the greatest impact on the team.
In an article in the Daily Mail Arsene Wenger, said in September, ahead of the first north London derby,
In our job, there is a technical risk when you buy more than three players as you unbalance a bit the stability of your squad. It’s always difficult when you bring so many players in to predict how well they’ll do. You have to find a way to integrate.